eat one's hat

Declare one's certainty that something will not happen or is untrue. This hyperbolic expression almost always follows an if-clause, as in If he's on time, I'll eat my hat, that is, “I'll consume my headgear if I'm wrong.” Charles Dickens used it in Pickwick Papers (1837): “If I knew as little of life as that, I'd eat my hat and swallow the buckle whole.” [First half of 1800s]

Nearby words

  1. eat high off the hog,
  2. eat humble pie,
  3. eat in,
  4. eat like a bird,
  5. eat one's cake and have it, too,
  6. eat one's heart out,
  7. eat one's words,
  8. eat out,
  9. eat out of someone's hand,
  10. eat shit

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.